Executive functions are high-level mental processes or abilities that influence and direct more basic abilities like attention and memory. The term executive function describes a set of cognitive abilities that include the ability to plan, organize and strategize, pay attention to and remember details, start and stop actions, and form concepts and think abstractly.
Executive functions also keep us from behaving in inappropriate ways. People with executive functioning deficits have difficulty monitoring and regulating their behaviors. These difficulties can include monitoring and changing behavior as needed, planning future behavior when faced with new tasks and situations, and anticipating outcomes and adapting to changing situations. People with executive functioning deficits will often have problems interacting with others and fitting in socially. Please see the following limitations that may correspond with the individual’s need (concentration, memory, organization, social skills, time management, and writing). For more information on executive function functioning deficits, see JAN's Effective Accommodation Practices: Executive Functioning Deficits.